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Accolades for courageous students Storm and Hope

Posted: 03 March 2022

West Nottinghamshire College students Storm Reveley and Hope Pugh have been honoured at an annual celebration of inspirational and brave young people in Mansfield.

They were amongst 12 young people across the district to be commended at the Mansfield Rotary Courage Awards.
Now in its 31st year, the event was hosted at Portland College, Mansfield, in front of the young people’s proud family members, teachers, dignitaries, Rotarians and sponsors.
The recipients of the awards had been nominated by their school, college or training-provider for “exemplifying moral and spiritual courage in the face of personal adversity and difficulty.” 
At an emotional lunchtime ceremony on Tuesday 1 March 2022, more than 100 guests heard moving tributes from teachers and support staff before seeing each nominee receive an engraved silver plaque from the Rotary Club’s president Kate Allsop and a framed civic citation from the Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams.
Determined Storm was celebrated for overcoming a major illness and intensive chemotherapy to complete qualifications at college with distinction.
The 20-year-old was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June last year while she was finishing her Level 2 Technical Certificate in Beauty Therapy qualification at the college.

As well as having chemotherapy, she was juggling online learning and being a teenager during the pandemic.

Most people would have given up on their college studies, but not Storm. She went on to complete her qualification and progressed on to the Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Beauty Therapy Treatments – and in the first term of her Level 3 course she logged on to lessons remotely from hospital while undergoing treatment.

Beauty therapy tutor Kate Taylor, who nominated Storm for an award, explained: “With adjustments, we have managed to social distance and maintain a safe environment for Storm to return to college. Storm is back to full strength now on her level 3 course and has been involved in both the launch and steering of a beauty learning company project.

“This is where students have set up a commercially-run beauty business, Meraki Beauty, within the college. They have presented to the college’s governing body and received glowing feedback. And once again this is a credit to Storm and her determination to achieve her goals.

“All staff in the beauty department have been touched by her courage and determination to not only pass the course, but to go above and beyond.

“She is now back working on clients in the college’s beauty salon and running a commercial column. Storm’s class bubble have supported and helped her on her journey and hold such admiration for the self-belief that she displays. They can’t get over her go-getting attitude to achieve.

“The past two years have been trying for any teenager and we have seen the negative effects of mental health on young people at college. Storm has somehow risen above this and seen it as a challenge, ensuring her recovery has been stronger than ever.

“We are so very proud of Storm for everything she has achieved and her resilience is second-to-none.”

Storm enjoys beauty therapy – nails, make-up, massage and facials – because she likes to make clients look and feel good. Her ambition is to own her own beauty salon with her friend, do more charity work, and help other people who are going through cancer treatment.

Speaking after the ceremony, Kate added: “It was an enormous honour to be with Storm and her family at the Courage Awards and to celebrate her great achievement. I was humbled to be part of such a moving and inspirational ceremony. It was fantastic to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of young people in the local area.”

Fellow recipient, Hope, is an inspiration to her peers at the college, where she studies hospitality and catering on the road to her dream of working in a restaurant kitchen.

The 16-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and autism, struggles with very limited capacity in her right arm and finds it difficult to stand for long periods. However, Hope was determined to try the Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Working in Hospitality and Catering course and adapt, in order to successfully work in the kitchen and restaurant’s practical areas.

She was nominated by Jo Wilson, programme area leader: hospitality and catering, who said: “Hope has maintained 100% attendance. She always comes in with a smile on her face, is fully prepared and organised to learn. Hope is a well-liked member of her group and supports others when she can.

“Hope has a positive attitude and is always stretching and challenging herself to do her best. She never gives in and is always willing to try new things.

“During the first term, the level 1 cohort attended the Mill Adventure Base, Sutton, as part of enrichment activities. Hope had 100% participation and competed in all activities, including kayaking and climbing. There is nothing that Hope will not try – she demonstrates resilience at every level and is adapting and achieving daily.”

Hope has learning support assistance within the college, but likes to be independent wherever possible – taking the approach that she will only ask for help when she feels she really needs it.

She adapts to all tasks and challenges, particularly in practical sessions where she has been using different equipment and aids where possible to support her to complete preparation and cooking tasks. Hope will try different ways of working, adapting her own practices to ensure she can successfully complete all practical work and written assessments.

She aims to continue with hospitality and catering and progress to the Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery in September this year. Hope enjoys making dishes from scratch. Away from cooking, she enjoys wheelchair sports and attends a weekly Boccia club.

Jo added: “It is amazing to be a part of Hope’s journey at college, continually watching her achieve and build her confidence.

“The awards were a real eye-opener into some of the challenges our young people face on a daily basis. There was a strong theme of resilience throughout. It makes you feel proud to support these young people, knowing all the hard work is so worthwhile.”

Presenting the awards, Mansfield Rotary Club president Kate Allsop said: “Courage is often described as the ability to conquer fear or despair. But courage is not only showing bravery in the face of danger. More often courage is the day-to-day determination and hard work of dealing with, adjusting to, and, hopefully, overcoming the obstacles and harsh realities that life may present.

“It is a quality of mind, enabling one to face that hardship with resolution. A resolution with power and spirit – the power to make choices and set goals and to act upon them firmly without renouncing those objectives; the spirit to let that courage succeed by the behaviour and attitude shown to the world about them.”

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